Sunday, September 2, 2012
"Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall..."
You’re all probably familiar with the old German fairy tale, Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge, or Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, collected and popularized by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, and the subject of many other narrative versions, films, TV shows, musical compositions, and even video games. It depicts a Queen who, while sewing at her window, pricks her finger with the needle, spilling three drops of blood onto the snow-laden ebony window frame. Looking upon them, the Queen expresses, aloud, the wish that she might have a daughter with skin as white as snow, with lips as red as blood, and with hair as black as ebony. And she does have such a daughter, made-to-order, whom she and her husband name Snow White. Unfortunately, the Queen dies soon after. The King remarries. His new Queen is very beautiful, but also very, very vain. She daily consults her magical mirror, asking: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” To which the mirror invariably replies: “You, my Queen, are fairest of all.” Predictably, Snow White grows to become more beautiful than the Queen, which the mirror isn’t shy about admitting, which sets up a long and interesting conflict between the two women.